PART THREE

A teenage girl wandered the streets all alone. Her long red hair flowed gracefully in the night wind. To all intents and purposes she seemed like every other teenage girl. Except if you looked straight into those startling green eyes, all that stared back was hurt. And a question. Why? She shivered as she continued on. The cold air was getting to her. She sneezed suddenly yet nothing was disturbed. All was quiet. All was well. But, no, all wasn't well, not for little Jacqueline Naylor at least. Her mind raced round and round but all it could settle on was why? Just that one word, why? She kept wondering, searching for answers. But wherever Jacqueline looked, nothing yielded. She was so alone. But the one thing that kept her going was a single-minded determination to be the best that she could be. She had learnt not trust her life in others any more. Jacqueline came to a stop. She looked up. With a helpless sigh, she walked up the steps that led to her foster home. Jacqueline pushed the door open, it creaked noisily. A voice called out immediately from the kitchen.

"Jacqueline? Is that you?" Jacqueline shut the door softly behind her. She did not reply to the voice and made to step up the stairs to her room. The voice called out again, clearer this time. "Jacqueline Naylor where do you think you are going? Come down here at once!" With a reluctant shrug, Jacqueline trudged back down the stairs and turned to face her apoplectic foster mother. "Well?!" She demanded.

"I went out," Jacqueline said simply.

"Where?" Her foster mother growled.

"What does it matter?" Jacqueline retorted.

"I am your mother and you will tell me this instance!" At this Jacqueline's eyes lit up with rage.

"You are not my mother!" She shouted, her voice full of fury. Her foster mother fixed her with an unpitying look.

"No, I'm not your real mother Jacqueline. But I'm here. She isn't." Jacqueline eyes swam with fresh tears. "Oh turn off the waterworks, it doesn't do you any credit." Jacqueline shot her a murderous glare.

"I hate you," she murmured forcefully. Her foster mother laughed.

"Oh go to bed Jacqueline, I can see you are insisting on being in one of your funny moods as usual. You can go to bed and don't expect any supper!"

"Fine!" WIth one last contemptuous look, Jacqueline stormed furiously up the stairs to her bed room, her chest heaving with suppressed rage. To anyone looking at her from afar it would have seemed as if her red hair, flowing behind her, were real flames crackling in the dark. Jacqueline threw open the door to her bedroom and strode aggressively inside. She kicked her bedside table viciously and leapt backwards on to the bed. She lay on her back, staring up at the featureless white ceiling. As she stared it was as if she were willing a word to form out of the nothingness. Jacqueline blinked and there it was, as clear as day. A single word. A single thought. Why? Jacqueline had no answer. Her eyelids drooped. The word vanished as the ceiling reformed itself. The room was beginning to swim in and out of focus. Jacqueline struggled to keep her eyes open, to stop herself from succumbing to sleep. It was to no avail. Her eyes closed and seconds later Jacqueline Naylor was asleep, curled up on top of her duvet, her head resting peacefully on the silk pillow. Her mind drifted to dreams of happiness, of a world in which she had a place. She dreamed of her perfect wedding, her perfect man. Then the nightmares began to weave their way into her peace. She could see her old home, yet something was wrong. She could see herself searching around the house, could hear herself shouting, calling for her mother who did not reply. Jacqueline awoke in a cold sweat. Her whole body shook. All was dark. The house was silent save for the callings of the night outside. Jacqueline lay awake for a few moments, her mind a blur of emotion. Then she drifted slowly back into the dreamworld.

Jac Naylor awoke with a start in the police cell. She could tell it was still the middle of the night as her cell remained dark and miserable. She tried to recall what it was she had been dreaming about. She had seen herself as a teenage girl. Jac scratched her eyes softly. What else? Jac thought. As she struggled to remember the cell began to get lighter, daylight was approaching. Jac groaned. She looked down at her hands, they were still covered in grime and her fingernails were all cracked. She was still in her wedding dress, there had been no time to change last night. The door behind her clicked and swung open. French stood in the doorway, his figure silhouetted against the light of the sun shining through the tiny window. He beckoned to Jac who clambered silently from the bed. Without pausing to look back, Jac walked over to French who guided her in front of him. In total silence they marched down the deserted corridor in the direction of the interview room. Keenan was noticeable by his absence. Jac pushed open the door with a nod from French and they walked inside. French pointed Jac to her seat and watched as she strode without complaint and sat down. French closed the door quietly behind them. Jac looked at the table. The first thing she noticed was the lack of any sort of recording equipment. She frowned. French did not appear to have noticed. For a moment no one spoke, they just sat and stared at each other. Then finally French broke the atmosphere.

"I know you killed him Jac. Keenan will accept it soon enough." Jac said nothing. French leaned closer to her. "You're not wriggling your way out of it this time." Jac remained silent defiantly. French scowled. "Why don't you just confess?" he asked. Jac refused to speak. French's temper was rising. He said nothing, his chest rising up and down heavily. He looked into Jac's eyes but they did not look back at him. Convinced of her guilt, French slammed his fist on the table with a tremendous bang! "I KNOW YOU DID IT JUST CONFESS NOW!" he yelled quite positively popping with rage. Jac leaned cautiously away from him. Unnoticed the door behind him swung quietly open.

"Luke, a word please," said the dour voice of John Keenan. French unclenched his fist. With a thunderous glare at Jac, he swept from the table and out of sight. Keenan looked to Jac. "Sorry about that, he's going through a rough time. I'll be with you shortly." Keenan exited the interview room. Seconds later Sergeant Young strode inside with a bored expression etched across his face. He stood at the door watching Jac intently. Jac eyed him unfeelingly. They could hear raised voices from outside. After a few minutes Keenan re-entered the room. Without a word to either of them, he placed the tape recorder on the table. After a brief silence, he looked towards Young. "I've sent French home for the rest of the day, if you could sit in on the interview with me?" Young nodded. "Thanks." Keenan moved his gaze over to Jac. There was something different about her. Something...strange, almost alien. Yesterday her emotion had broken through her defences but today it seemed like there was a new, thicker wall. Keenan cleared his throat. "Continue where you left off Jac, the whole story please..."

TO BE CONTINUED...